As the 32nd National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Richmond wound down at the end of June, thoughts went quickly to the 33rd NVWG, to be held in Tampa July 13–18, 2013.
Tom Brown, Paralyzed Veterans of America director for the Games and one of the original organizers of the event, said as the Richmond Games concluded that work was already well under way for Tampa.
“I’ve been (to Tampa) a couple times already, but I’ll be doing another site visit soon,” Brown said. “We’ll solidify the venues and the schedules. The chairs for the Tampa Games will all get together and look at what went well at the Richmond Games and what can go better.”
Jeanene LeSure, local organizing committee coordinator for the Tampa Games, concurred by saying the next steps for her and her committee chairs would be an overall debriefing regarding the Richmond Games. “We observed and took a lot of notes,” she said. “Now we need to set out a plan of action.”
LeSure, who spent a few years on the coach’s level, said she wants to always keep the focus on the veterans. “We want to give them the best quality experience we possibly can,” she said.
Each NVWG has similarities, of course, but Brown added, “Every Games is a new experience. Every host hospital and host city is different. Each one brings its own personality.”
As for the adaptive sports offered, most likely 17 medal events will remain the same, although some new exhibition events may be offered. Brown said they are looking at things such as water skiing, fencing, and tennis, as well as boccia, which was an exhibition event in Richmond. LeSure said final decisions should be made soon. “We want to look at some recreational events—things people could do at home—in the mix of things we will offer,” she said.
And she offered this early message to Tampa participants: “Get ready to ‘seize the day in Tampa Bay’ (the 33rd NVWG theme) and have the time of your life.”
Learn more about the National Veterans Wheelchair Games
Tim W. Jackson is a freelance writer and editor in Asheville, N.C.